With remote and hybrid work continuing to be the order of the day for many organisations, virtual desktop solutions have gone from “nice to have” to an essential part of many businesses’ IT environments.
Amongst these, HP Anyware has made a name for itself since its release in 2022, quickly becoming a leading-edge virtual desktop solution that delivers powerful enhancements to productivity and collaboration, while ensuring security. In this blog, we look at how it works, and what it means for businesses:
What is HP Anyware?
HP Anyware is the successor of an already popular virtual desktop solution – Teradici CAS (cloud access software). HP acquired Teradici in 2021 and has further enhanced the CAS solution by integrating the power of another HP-owned solution – ZCentral Remote Boost, which allows remote workers connecting to virtual desktops to leverage greater performance.
The result is HP Anyware. Like all virtual desktop solutions, Anyware allows users to connect directly to a dedicated virtualised desktop environment, rather than having that environment hosted on their own device. This means that users can access their “work desktop” from anywhere in the world – provided they have a connection and a suitable device from which they can interact with the virtual desktop.
The virtual desktops can also be hosted in a wide range of environments – whether in an on-premises datacentre, in a public cloud, or across a hybrid environment.
As we’ve discussed in a previous blog, virtual desktops enable businesses to re-shape their device strategy, and extend the life of existing hardware investments without the capabilities of older devices hampering performance or user experience.
What makes HP Anyware different?
While virtual desktops are nothing new, Anyware carries a range of features and advantages that make it unique from other solutions.
The main difference is inherited from Teradici CAS. Anyware, like Teradici CAS, uses a PC over internet protocol (PCoIP) architecture, which was designed by Teradici.
Rather than transmitting data from the virtual desktop host to the user device, PCoIP instead captures information through the changes in pixels on-screen and transmits these. This offloads the work of rendering the display onto the host infrastructure, rather than relying on the user device, while still ensuring information can be communicated quickly, with minimal latency.
As a result, Anyware doesn’t rely on the transmission of potentially sensitive data and doesn’t require a user to connect to a corporate network via VPN to access their desktop.
Enhancing remote security
HP Anyware’s use of a PCoIP protocol carries significant advantages in terms of security – since changes in pixels are being transmitted, rather than potentially sensitive data, should bad actors intercept the communications between the user and the host infrastructure, they won’t be able to see what the user is actually looking at. In addition, the pixel changes in transmission are encrypted, further minimising the ability for cybercriminals to hijack the connection to access sensitive data.
Anyware also facilitates improvements to security strategy. Since the entire workload for the desktop is shifted to centralised server infrastructure, users can use zero clients as their devices. While thin clients take advantage of virtual desktops to offload much of their hardware, zero clients take this even further, carrying only the essentials needed to connect to the host. These devices have no local operating system, and minimal firmware, leaving very few avenues for potential cyberattacks and helping users stay secure.
One of the more significant challenges for businesses adopting remote or hybrid working is enabling effective collaboration. While in-office employees can gather around a single workstation when collaborating on a project, for remote employees this is limited to screen sharing via collaboration tools.
HP Anyware overcomes this challenge by allowing users to invite one another to their virtual desktop, enabling an entire team to connect to a single desktop simultaneously.
This means that users collaborating on a project can all see it in a single instance – which is especially vital for graphically-intensive workloads like design, animation, and rendering, which otherwise rarely support multiple users working at once.
It’s also useful for training, as a senior team member can connect to a trainee’s desktop to see what they’re doing, and take control to demonstrate a particular workflow, rather than trying to talk through the solution while screen sharing.
Improving remote work
As we’ve already alluded to, virtual desktop solutions have become essential for many businesses to facilitate remote work by allowing users to connect to their work desktop from anywhere. This is particularly valuable for roles that would traditionally require access to a powerful workstation, which they wouldn’t be able to take with them on the move.
Anyware goes a step further, introducing low-latency support for a range of peripherals to retain the same responsiveness users would expect when working on a local device.
This is especially important for creatives, as the lag between input and action for other virtual desktop solutions often hampers their ability to work effectively. Digital artists and designers, for example, will find it difficult to draw on a device where the movement of the pen on-screen doesn’t synchronise with their actions on a drawing tablet.
Anyware also offers huge advantages to remote workers by only giving them secure access to powerful virtual workstations from anywhere, meaning that businesses can adopt a more agile bring-your-own-device (BYOD) strategy, saving money on hardware refreshes and allowing users to use devices they’re already familiar with, without potentially compromising the organisation’s security.
Whether you’re interested in rolling out HP Anyware, or simply want to learn more about remote desktop solutions and how they can help your business, get in touch with a member of the team today.